Monday, August 10, 2020

Schumacher, Falling Down, and Coronavirus

Was the Novel Coronavirus forecast long before it appeared?

Joel T. Schumacher (born August 29, 1939) was an American film director, screenwriter, and producer who was active from the 1970s to the 2010s, and died June 22, 2020, at age 80, from cancer.

Schumacher: German and Jewish (Ashkenazic): occupational name for a shoemaker, from Middle High German schuoch "shoe"; German Schuh + an agent derivative of machen "to make." Similar surnames: Schacher, Schleicher, Schuhmacher, Schirmacher, Schomaker, Schlachter.

Schumacher directs The Lost Boys.

Of the many films with which Schumacher was involved, he got high praise especially for St. Elmo's Fire (1985), The Lost Boys (1987), and Falling Down (1993). 

Schumacher is shown on the set of the 2004 musical drama The Phantom of the Opera. Was it his Eyes Wide Shut?

Schumacher's clear and overt dance with "twilight language" came in The Number 23 (2007).



But it is in Falling Down, filmed in 1992, throughout the Los Angeles area, where we scratch our heads.

"Corona" signs are shown going every which way.

Even the toilet paper is given a prominent cameo.

Cleaning liquids and toilet paper in Falling Down.

Joel Schumacher, here wearing different Hawaiian shirts, is directing Michael Douglas in Falling Down. (See more on Aloha or Hawaiian shirts, here.)



Falling Down was released on February 26, 1993. 

The 1993 World Trade Center bombing was a terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, carried out on February 26, 1993, when a truck bomb detonated below the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City. The 1,336 lb (606 kg) urea nitrate–hydrogen gas enhanced device was intended to send the North Tower (Tower 1) crashing into the South Tower (Tower 2), bringing both towers down and killing thousands of people. It failed to do so, but killed six people and injured over one thousand.

The goal of the WTC attack, once again, was to have both the towers "fall down."

The date is also the second anniversary of the Americans defeating the Iraqi forces and driving them from Kuwait on February 26, 1991.


"Predictive Programming from the movie Falling Down. Corona going in every direction, toilet paper, all of it. Movie released on 2/26/93, date of first WTC bombing. Towers literally fell down 3119 days later (444th prime). 222 months from 9/11/01 to Pandemic date of 3/11/20." ~ Credit Prophecy_106 on Twitter, April 7, 2020.

"Coronavirus & Mamba death same year. Kobe buried in Corona Del Mar." ~ The Tale of Onora, May 14, 2020.

See the Hamm's bear in the right side of this photo from Falling Down? Robert DesJarlait, an artist and writer, is from the Red Lake Ojibwe Nation in northern Minnesota. He created the Hamm’s Beer bear. He also drew the Land O'Lakes Native American maiden, "Mia."


The director was interviewed about Falling Down for MIT's The Tech. Arts Editor Chris Roberge wrote, in part, on February 9, 1993:

Schumacher has very strong feelings about the mood of America today and how this mood attracted him to the project. "I felt that there was a critical mass building in culture of anger and rage. In the last 12 years it was swept under the carpet while all of the problems kept getting worse and worse. Unlike in the 60s when most creative people were expressing their feelings, outside of African-American filmmakers and rappers and street art, I didn't see much going on. I wanted to be in people's faces about what was going on. In some ways I think that it's worse now than when we started making the film," he said.

"Local news seems to be filled with these types of crimes. This sort of crime is on the rise in the country. Just last week there were two in D.C. and one in Memphis. I tried to put a face and a soul to these six o'clock news stories. This is the guy whose neighbors you see saying, `I don't understand. He was very nice.' " However, the two people who knew Michael Douglas' character the best -- his mother and his ex-wife -- say something quite different. Both of them thought that he was a somewhat frightening man with a propensity towards violence even before he begins his tragic trek across Los Angeles. Still, Schumacher insists, "I thought that he has an Everyman quality. I didn't want him to be a lunatic."

Talking about his goals for the tone and mood of the film, Schumacher says, "First and foremost, I have to make some sort of entertainment. I don't like movies that are soapboxes. I felt that the movie was a good story with a western type formula." But isn't it dangerous to make the film too entertaining, inviting the audience to strongly identify with an obvious sociopath? "I feel that he acts out a fantasy behavior. I think that audiences will be hard pressed not to identify with him. I think that people are conflicted. That's the purpose of the film. I think that it would be nice to do this, but we can't. We should be more like the Robert Duvall character."

As a final note, I asked Schumacher what criticisms he intended specifically for America, which he singles out often in the movie through shots of U.S. flags and characters who run army surplus stores, are Marine Corp veterans, or are defense workers. At first he replied that this was nothing more than a minor theme he introduced into the background, but then he added, "I think we are a violent culture and there's a thin line between what's considered acceptable violence and what's considered unacceptable violence. The Rodney King incident certainly shows all of that. I suppose that when you put on a uniform it's alright." This is a very interesting point, but one that is never dealt with to any large degree in the film. There is a substantial line between what's considered acceptable violence and what Douglas does in this movie. There is an equally great distinction between Falling Down and what should be considered a truly good movie.


On February 10, 2015, at 5:15 p.m., Deah Shaddy Barakat, Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha and Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha were killed in their home in Finley Forest Condominiums on Summerwalk Circle in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, United States.

The victims.

Craig Stephen Hicks, 46, a former car parts salesman, allegedly shot dead the three Muslim university students at point blank range, in their heads, before turning himself into police. Hicks had moved to Chapel Hill in 2005 from Bethalto, Illinois. His motive, allegedly, was not because he is anti-Muslim, but because he was angry because of an ongoing parking space dispute. However, additional information from his first wife notes that Hicks was obsessed with watching "incessantly" the 1993 film Falling Down starring Michael Douglas, about a divorced engineer ("I helped build missiles. I helped protect this country. You should be rewarded for that. But instead they give it to the plastic surgeons.") who loses his job and embarks on a shooting rampage across Los Angeles.